Here’s What Women Should Need To Know About Osteoporosis And Menopause

There is a direct co-relation between the lack of estrogen during pre-menopause and menopause and the development of osteoporosis

By Dr. Yash Gulati, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedic, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle leading to increase in possibility of unexpected and sudden fractures. This ailment progresses without any evident symptoms and leads to spike in loss of bone mass and strength. Menopause is referred to as the end of the menstruation cycle of women that usually happens between the age of 45-55 years.

How Is Osteoporosis Related to Menopause?

There is a direct co-relation between the lack of estrogen during pre-menopause and menopause and the development of osteoporosis. When women reach the age of menopause, there is a decline in the estrogen and progesterone levels. This estrogen plays a key role in acting as a protector of the bone. The lack of estrogen, a natural result of menopause, is directly related to a decline in bone density. Lower the level of estrogen, lower will be the bone density, which, in turn, makes a woman susceptible to osteoporosis. What makes women more vulnerable to osteoporosis?

  • Women who experience menopause before the age of 45, can be due to hormonal imbalance
  • Irregular menstruation, indicative of irregular ovulation

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What Are the Symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Often referred to as a “silent disease”, osteoporosis has no symptoms in terms of pain or inability to walk. People may not be aware that they have osteoporosis until their bones become so weak that a sudden strain, bump, or fall causes a fracture or a vertebra to collapse. Initial symptoms can be in the form of spinal deformities like stooped posture, followed by collapsed vertebrae.

It is important for women who are at the age of 50 and above, menopausal women who have had fractures to get bone mineral density (BMD) tests, or bone measurements done regularly. These are X-rays that use very less amount of radiation to determine bone strength.

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How Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?

  • Exercise: Exercise makes bones and muscles stronger and helps avoid bone loss. Walking, jogging and dancing are all good weight-bearing exercises. In addition, strength and balance exercises may help to avoid falling, decreasing the chance of breaking a bone.
  • Eat foods high in calcium: Getting enough calcium helps to build and keep strong bones. Best sources of calcium are milk and dairy, dark green leafy vegetables.
  • Vitamin D: Vital to absorb the required calcium in the body, vitamin D can be absorbed by being out in the sun for a total of 20 minutes every day. It is also present in eggs, fatty fish like salmon, cereal and milk fortified with vitamin D
  • Avoid alcohol and smoke: Limit the consumption of alcohol and do not smoke. Smoking also cause the estrogen level in the human body to decline, hence this should be avoided.
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